Pandora founder isn't worried about competition, even from Apple

Oct 22, 2012 by Jefferson Graham

Online music service Pandora isn't sweating over recent media reports that Apple is developing a similar offering tailored to personalized music tastes.

In an interview with at the Public Relations Society of America conference here earlier this week, founder and Chief Strategy Officer Tim Westergren said Apple would provide "some serious competition ... but we haven't lacked for competition."

Apple declined comment on its plans.

In 2011, Clear Channel, the nation's largest , relaunched iHeartRadio as a personalized , but Pandora hasn't felt the heat in its user base.

"Our growth wasn't slowed," said Westergren. At the time of Clear Channel's big push, Pandora had 100 million listeners. Now it has more than 160 million.

Westergren created Pandora in 2000, based on the idea that computers could analyze songs to create based on listeners' tastes. It has not turned a profit since its in June 2011. Pandora pays royalties to musicians and and in turn makes money from advertising.

"The fact that large companies are turning toward our space means we're doing something right," Westergren said. "What we do is incredibly hard. For 12 years we've had trained musicians come in, slip on headphones and manually analyze over 1 million songs. We have 18 billion pieces of 'thumbs' feedback rolled into that. Hopefully we make it look easy for the listener, but the technology behind creating a playlist is incredibly complex."

Pandora listeners fine-tune their music stream by clicking a "thumbs up" button on a song.

The Pandora founder said the best defense against competition is to continually focus on making the product.

"Listeners will gravitate to the service that plays the best songs for them. It's winner-takes-all."

Microsoft is the latest entry in the field with a new initiative under the umbrella of Xbox Music. Coinciding with the launch next week of its Windows 8 operating system, the service will be free on Windows 8 PCs and tablets. There is also a subscription service and music store.

Pandora shares have been up and down in the past year in a range from just under $8 to around $16. In recent trading, the stock has hovered at around $9.

Explore further: China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Clear Channel swipes at Pandora with iheart revamp

Jul 11, 2011

(AP) -- Radio station giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. is taking a swipe at online music service Pandora with a revamp of its iheartradio application that imitates Pandora's personalized listening experience but doesn't ...

Cars the next frontier for Pandora

Jan 08, 2011

Internet radio star Pandora has topped 75 million users in the United States and is expanding into cars but it will be awhile before music fans abroad can enjoy their own personal stations.

Recommended for you

China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

5 hours ago

China's top smartphone seller Xiaomi Corp. is raising more than $1 billion in a fresh round of funding, a move which would raise its valuation above $45 billion, a report said Sunday.

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

Dec 20, 2014

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

Dec 20, 2014

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Sony tells AFP it still plans movie release

Dec 20, 2014

Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton denied Friday the Hollywood studio has "caved" by canceling the release of "The Interview," and said it still hoped to release the controversial film.

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

Dec 19, 2014

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.